Posts Tagged ‘Team building’

Last night I watched the latest hot movie, The Avengers. As I reflected on the movie’s themes I was struck by the great lessons the movie had concerning teamwork and leading teams.

In the movie you have an all-star cast of heroes who are pitted against villains from another world. The leader has a vision to put together a “Dream Team” of these super heroes to protect the earth against attacks from other worlds. His dream of being successful is almost thwarted due to his inability at the outset to take all these highly successful individuals and pull them together in unity as a team. Each of their individual agendas, personalities and weaknesses almost sabotages the effort to hold off the inevitable doom from these alien adversaries.

Here is a list of some of the super heroes weaknesses that was inhibiting the formation of the Super Hero Dream Team:

Ironman-self-absorbed: his self-centeredness leads him to not be a very willing participant in the whole “team” concept. Very much a lone ranger who likes to do things according to his own ideas, desire and beliefs. He has a great deal of difficulty subduing this characteristic to function well on the team.

Do you have a team member who has not embraced the “team” concept due to an arrogance that isolates him from the rest of the team and robs the team of getting the great contributions he could contribute?

Hulk-ill-tempered: as we know his temper leads to all kinds of destructive actions that leave a wake of rubble behind him. He has to go to great lengths not to allow himself to be provoked into anger.

Do you know someone whose temper is a disruptive force on your team?

Captain America-communications issues: due to being in a frozen sleep for decades of years he lacked understanding the modern day language being used by his team and often struggled to understand what was being said.

Does your team have communication issues for one reason or another that is preventing your team from operating at a higher level?

Thor-family issues: emotional ties to the villan who is his brother, his brother was the evil villain who was seeking to set up his kingdom on earth and have everyone bow down to him, there are some pivotal moments when he struggles with the emotional side of this being his brother and not wanting to fight him, he still had hopes he could convince him to turn from his evil ways.

Do you have team members who are struggling with some personal issues that are holding them back from being top performers and contributing greatness to your team? How could you help them overcome those issues?

Black Widow-loyalty issues: a former spy who struggles with loyalty issues, she is a former spy who did not hold loyalty in high regard. She sold her services to the highest bidder and had difficulty showing devotion to the cause at the outset.

Do you have team members who don’t display loyalty and devotion to the team’s vision? How do you address that?

Nick Furry (Leader of  S. H. I. E. L. D.) authenticity issues:  Struggles with authenticity issues which lead to a lack of trust from his proposed team members. He held back information from his team and developed a lack of trust from the team members that he almost did not overcome.

As a leader do your people trust you? If not, why? How can you become more authentic as a leader and build a high level of trust in your organization?


1. Great talent does not always equal great teams.

2. Individual weaknesses can hamper or even destroy team chemistry and effectiveness.

3. Great leaders unify great talents to make great teams.

4. Individual aspirations have to be yielded for the greater good of the team in order to achieve maximum effectiveness and truly create a Dream Team.

5. There is no room for arrogance on your team if you hope to achieve maximum effectiveness.

6. Without unity your team’s effectiveness is great reduced, if not destroyed.

7. When a team is unified your effectiveness is multiplied.

8. Successful teams have loyal team members.

9. Successful leaders of highly successful teams develop and cultivate a culture of mutual trust.

10. Personal issues can impact a team’s performance in negative ways and cause very disruptive situations if not addressed and handled correctly.



Ed Bastian President of Delta Air Lines

Delta’s Near Death Experience

  • Delta came within a few days of closing doors.
  • We made lots of poor decisions along the way to this day of reckoning.
  • There lots of denials of the facts of the true situation we were in.
  • The company was made up of 50K people at that time.
  • We had to come to realization that we were not going to make it without a massive change.

The #1 thing we did to turn things around was to reconnect with the people of Delta Airlines!

  • If you take care of your employees your employees will take care of you.
  • We got away from taking care of our employees and this was a fundamental reason that we fell.
  • We have a history of dedicated employees, 20 years ago our employees gave us a plane. This showed their dedication and love for their company, but we eventually turned our backs on these people for a period of time.
  • We made an intentional effort to reconnect with all 50,000 employees in a personal way. We had each one of them come to Atlanta over a period of time where they met with the CEO or another high level executive to hear directly from top leadership the real story.
  • We admitted to each one them that came through the meetings that “We Screwed UP!”
  • This what they wanted to hear, they already knew it, they just wanted to hear us admit it and acknowledge that we knew it. This admission of fault made leadership accountable to organization and helped to begin process of regaining credibility.
  • The US Airways takeover attempt united the company and helped Delta rally to successfully turn around the company. It became a pivotal moment in the history of the company as it provided a much-needed rally point for everyone in organization.
  • Our biggest challenge was with our pilots, the pilots lost a lot.
  • We came within 24 hours of a strike, but we decided to put our swords down and fly together. This was a crystallizing moment in the turnaround of our company.
  • We communicated to the employees that if we could get through the economic downturn without a layoff that it would be a huge turning point for our return as a viable company. We did make it through without laying off any of our front line employees during one of the worst economic times our industry has ever known.

How do you handle setbacks and turmoil?

  • You must first realize that there are more things within your control than out of your control.
  • Make a decision that you are going to play offense not defense.
  • You must be flexible.
  • What you make of setbacks and turmoil will make all the difference in the world as to whether of not you successfully navigate through it.

People underestimate the actual control they have during turbulent times.

  • Most organizations are slow to admitting the actual facts/reality of their situation during down times. This delay in recognizing the reality of the situation delays the process of making the right decisions to navigate through these difficult times.

What have you learned by being involved in non-business activities like Habitat for Humanity?

  • Good companies do good things
  • It is our responsibility to give back to our communities.
  • All Delta leaders are involved in some type of service activity outside of work.
  • Helps me keep my head on straight. Service=Humility
  • Great team building exercises to work on these projects together.
  • Builds morale and employee ownership in mission of company.

Many younger employees come to us worried about the next job, climbing the ladder of success. My advice to you is to worry about doing your current job in an excellent way, that is the best path to your next job.

Most important job is the one you have right now!

What is best advice you got from a mentor?

  • If you are going to succeed in life surround yourself with great people, successful people, people who are much smarter than you. Surround yourself with people who are smarter, look different, think differently and who can look at situation and come up with different solutions, look around the corners and see things you can’t see yourself. This is cornerstone of being successful in life and business.
  • You need to be a perpetual optimist. You need to have unwavering faith in your ability and your teams ability to get the job done successfully. This is contagious in your organization. Your organization will take on the personality of the leader over time. It will either be a positive outlook or it will be a negative outlook. Which will it be for your organization?

I challenge you to Inspire your people!!